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I Hate Cigarettes February 21, 2020

I hate cigarettes
This is the actual invitation for my mother’s Social Security toga party, and yes, that is my actual mother.
I love her so much.

When my mother turned 62 years old, in honor of her first Social Security check she threw herself a toga party.  She did not invite my sister or I because, honestly, would you invite your kids to a toga party?  It would probably cramp your style.  She did give us a copy of the invitation, which sports a picture of her in a gold lamé toga on the front.

This is typical of my mother, who also posed faux-nude in a calendar created by her 55 and older (better) neighborhood to raise money for mammograms for low income women.  She and her friends strategically covered their bits with oversized tennis balls and flowers in hilarious montages.  They received a lot of press for it.  My dad decided that he heard enough about boobs and wanted to do a similar calendar to raise money for prostate cancer screenings but would only do it if they did the Full Monty.  None of his friends were on board with him.  Thank goodness.

Her energy is relentless.  She never stops moving and doing.  Nearly everything in her house is handmade, from the dishes to the blankets to some of the furniture.  She plays bridge and tennis, and she will chastise you for being lazy if you want to sit and rest.  Arthritis didn’t slow her down, nor did a stroke or stents in her heart or Crohn’s disease or diabetes. 

Needless to say, the rules and my mother are only marginally acquainted.  She’s generally law-abiding, and to my knowledge has never been arrested.  She’s just a boundary pusher, fearless and strong, and does not care one whit what you think.

For the most part, I admire this about her.

As is typical of her semi-reckless breed, she is a smoker.  Is.  Present tense.  She began sometime in junior high and never really tried to quit, even when all her friends did.  Despite growing up in a house thick with cigarette smoke, I have always hated the smell. I hate cigarettes in general. I would hide the packs, write “this will kill you” on the individual cigarettes, and lecture her pointlessly.  We would fight over smoking in the car, sitting in smoking sections of restaurants, and whether or not she could smoke around my newborn babies when they arrived. 

In 2018, she was diagnosed with lung cancer.  This was sad, of course, but not a surprise.  She did not give up smoking.  “What?’  She said with brutal logic.  “Am I afraid I’m going to get lung cancer?”     

She’s tired now.  She naps a lot.  For the first time in her life, she sits down and rests in the middle of things.  Chemo befuddled her brain and made her hair fall out.  She still crochets and goes to play blackjack at the casino, but not as often, and with more mistakes. 

I know without a doubt that cigarettes, not old age, did this to her.  But for cigarettes, she would have lived on and on, an unstoppable force of nature no more controllable than typhoons or tornados.  I hate cigarettes.  I hate them so much because they are taking my Mommy from me.

Every time I see a young person smoking, I want to slap the cigarette out of their hand and tell them about my mother.  How I am watching the most vibrant person I know wither on the vine like grapes in a drought because when she was 15 she thought she was immortal and looked cool.  You are a fool, I want to say, committing suicide in a long, painful way, forcing the people who love you to watch this decline in slow motion. Kill yourself, if you want to, but don’t torture them this way.  But don’t kill yourself.  Life has a lot of things in it that are worth waking up in the morning for.

Right now, I wake up to say hello to my mom while she’s still here to say hello to. 

If you enjoyed this and want to read more like it, visit Lori on Twitter or on Facebook or read her award winning books.  Her new book, “If You Did What I Asked In The First Place” is currently available by clicking here.

I Hate Cigarettes

10 Comments

  1. Marlene R Buchanan

    Each time you write, I tell you it is your best one. This is a terrific story. I know from the things you have told me how important she is to you. Love the story. Hate that you had to write it. Send this to your Mom with flowers. I’m sharing it with several of my friends.

    Reply

  2. Teri

    So sad. I didn’t watch all this happen to my dad who smoked all his life. He just dropped dead at age 69. In 67 now and it hits me even harder as I near his age. He has a lot of living to do yet, but he loved cigarettes as much as you hate them. Sad. Very sad.

    Reply

  3. Sandy Lingo

    I feel exactly the same way when I see young people smoke. I mostly quit smoking after I had kids, but I would still party smoke, sharing a pack with a girlfriend. And the next morning all I could think upon awakening was, where can I get more cigarettes. Since my dad died with lung cancer (probably not because of the smoking he had stopped 40 years before, but because he owned a foundry), I am officially cured of the addiction. We owe it to our families to our families to be as healthy as we can. I am so sorry you and your mom are suffering so. Your writing is compelling and persuasive. Hopefully someone reads it and decides that today is the day to stop.

    Reply

  4. Tricia Murphy

    Lori, I’m so sorry. 🙏🙏🙏 I’m a former smoker, but feel the same way you do. I quit 17 years ago when I met my husband. I see someone young smoking and just want to smack them.

    Reply

  5. David Childs

    Hello Lori, I went through school with Marlene, she’s a force and a little naughty. I know because I’m Santa Claus. Now to my point, I smoked until 1986 then cold turkey quit. Hope my lungs have recovered by now. My younger brother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that was so fast moving he died in less than 2 months, he also quit smoking 20 years ago. My point is “I hate cigarettes also” because it can kill you when you least expect it and sneak up on you when you are not looking. It is certainly the devil work! May God bless you and your mom and may she fully recover.

    Reply

  6. Mari-Ann Wise

    I lost my mother to cancer and my father to complications from a cancer surgery. They were both smokers but did eventually quit, probably too late. There isn’t a day that goes by that there isn’t something I want to ask my mother, laugh about something with her or just hear her voice. We were best freinds and it was a devastating loss. Focus on the fact that you still have your mother and cherish each day. I hate cigarettes. too.

    Reply

  7. Laura Williams

    Love this.
    Love your mom.
    Love you.

    Reply

  8. Tori Chickering

    You are a treasure and we are damn lucky to have you and I want a shitty xerox copy of your mother in a toga so I, too, can frame it and hang it on the wall to remind me that I’m not the only nut around. That we nuts are descendants of those bawdy broads who went before us and I’m sorry she smoked, and I wish I could take away your pain. And I hate cigarettes right along with you. But if they made your mother who she is and has been, then I guess so. We’ll have to hate cigarettes and love the smoker. XOXO

    Reply

  9. Gerri Lynn Nunley

    My Dad died of lung cancer in 2013. He was everything plus a bag of chips to most people he met but ran hot and cold to his family. I still loved him. He was my best friend. Up until a few months before died he and I used to pick stalls and shoot the $hIt about anyone we knew in common. We were buddies for sure. I always hate when people find out about his lung cancer the first question they ask is “Did he smoke?” He actually was a light smoker for about 20 years but quit around age 40. The doctor even said that it was not smoking that caused his cancer. I’m pretty sure the chemo and radiation actually killed him but what caused his cancer was his drywall and acoustical contracting (asbestos) company he owned. He also bought Round-Up in 5 gallon concentrated form for as long as I can remember too so who knows? There are lots of ways to get lung cancer or any kind of cancer. Just remember to never judge people or jump to conclusions.

    Reply

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I Hate Cigarettes

10 Comments

  1. Marlene R Buchanan

    Each time you write, I tell you it is your best one. This is a terrific story. I know from the things you have told me how important she is to you. Love the story. Hate that you had to write it. Send this to your Mom with flowers. I’m sharing it with several of my friends.

    Reply

  2. Teri

    So sad. I didn’t watch all this happen to my dad who smoked all his life. He just dropped dead at age 69. In 67 now and it hits me even harder as I near his age. He has a lot of living to do yet, but he loved cigarettes as much as you hate them. Sad. Very sad.

    Reply

  3. Sandy Lingo

    I feel exactly the same way when I see young people smoke. I mostly quit smoking after I had kids, but I would still party smoke, sharing a pack with a girlfriend. And the next morning all I could think upon awakening was, where can I get more cigarettes. Since my dad died with lung cancer (probably not because of the smoking he had stopped 40 years before, but because he owned a foundry), I am officially cured of the addiction. We owe it to our families to our families to be as healthy as we can. I am so sorry you and your mom are suffering so. Your writing is compelling and persuasive. Hopefully someone reads it and decides that today is the day to stop.

    Reply

  4. Tricia Murphy

    Lori, I’m so sorry. 🙏🙏🙏 I’m a former smoker, but feel the same way you do. I quit 17 years ago when I met my husband. I see someone young smoking and just want to smack them.

    Reply

  5. David Childs

    Hello Lori, I went through school with Marlene, she’s a force and a little naughty. I know because I’m Santa Claus. Now to my point, I smoked until 1986 then cold turkey quit. Hope my lungs have recovered by now. My younger brother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that was so fast moving he died in less than 2 months, he also quit smoking 20 years ago. My point is “I hate cigarettes also” because it can kill you when you least expect it and sneak up on you when you are not looking. It is certainly the devil work! May God bless you and your mom and may she fully recover.

    Reply

  6. Mari-Ann Wise

    I lost my mother to cancer and my father to complications from a cancer surgery. They were both smokers but did eventually quit, probably too late. There isn’t a day that goes by that there isn’t something I want to ask my mother, laugh about something with her or just hear her voice. We were best freinds and it was a devastating loss. Focus on the fact that you still have your mother and cherish each day. I hate cigarettes. too.

    Reply

  7. Laura Williams

    Love this.
    Love your mom.
    Love you.

    Reply

  8. Tori Chickering

    You are a treasure and we are damn lucky to have you and I want a shitty xerox copy of your mother in a toga so I, too, can frame it and hang it on the wall to remind me that I’m not the only nut around. That we nuts are descendants of those bawdy broads who went before us and I’m sorry she smoked, and I wish I could take away your pain. And I hate cigarettes right along with you. But if they made your mother who she is and has been, then I guess so. We’ll have to hate cigarettes and love the smoker. XOXO

    Reply

  9. Gerri Lynn Nunley

    My Dad died of lung cancer in 2013. He was everything plus a bag of chips to most people he met but ran hot and cold to his family. I still loved him. He was my best friend. Up until a few months before died he and I used to pick stalls and shoot the $hIt about anyone we knew in common. We were buddies for sure. I always hate when people find out about his lung cancer the first question they ask is “Did he smoke?” He actually was a light smoker for about 20 years but quit around age 40. The doctor even said that it was not smoking that caused his cancer. I’m pretty sure the chemo and radiation actually killed him but what caused his cancer was his drywall and acoustical contracting (asbestos) company he owned. He also bought Round-Up in 5 gallon concentrated form for as long as I can remember too so who knows? There are lots of ways to get lung cancer or any kind of cancer. Just remember to never judge people or jump to conclusions.

    Reply

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Lori Duff

Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side.  Her latest book, "If You Did What I Asked in the First Place" was a number one Amazon Hot New Release in the Fall of 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here.

I Hate Cigarettes February 21, 2020

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